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Sandu Perfect in Shootout Win

by Romano Di Franco

PEMBROKE, ON – The Nepean Raiders travelled to the Pembroke Memorial Centre to take on the Pembroke Lumber Kings. It was their second meeting of the season with the Lumber Kings having come away victorious in their previous meeting during the CCHL Showcase by a score of 5-2.

The Raiders came into the game 2-2-0-1 in their last five games while the Lumber Kings are 2-3 in the same span. Luca Sandu (1-1, 5.40 GAA, 0.882 SV%) got the start in the Nepean Goal while Ben Forget (2-7, 2.88 GAA, 0.906 SV%) was in goal for Pembroke.

The two goalies both shined in the first period turning aside all shots thrown their way. Pembroke had the only man-advantage during the period after Scott Daniel was assessed a Cross Checking penalty. The best chance by either team came in the final period when Matt Yeager had a break-away that Sandu stopped. Shots were 10-9 in favour of the home team.

Nepean has had a knack of scoring the first goal this season and they opened the scoring in this game too. It was the seventh time in eleven starts that the Raiders drew first blood. This time it was Tyler Melvin blasting a shot from the top of the slot that beat Forget. Coleman Bennett and Luke Posthumus drew the assists and Posthumus also helped by screening the Pembroke netminder. It was a PowerPlay goal that came with Lucas Legault in the box for High Sticking.

The Raiders stretched the lead to 2-0 on Luca Benoit’s eighth goal of the season. Anthony Rivard took a pass from Tyler Melvin who appeared to take it behind the Pembroke net but dished to Benoit instead who sent a wrist shot top shelf to put the Raiders up by a pair.

Pembroke had a brief 5-on-3 PowerPlay after Tristan Caldwell (Tripping) and later Shane Moodie (High Sticking) were booked. The Raiders PK was in fine form as they successfully killed off both penalties. Sandu continued his dynamite play in the second robbing Pratt Stetson from the edge of the crease on a rebound off a blast from the point by Nick Foster. Luck kept avoiding the Lumber Kings when Alex Urbisci’s shot from close range pinged off the cross bar.

Nepean went on the PowerPlay after Ryland Willers was assessed a Hooking penalty but it was negated midway through when Harris Hilfiker was sent off for Tripping. With the two teams playing four-on-four it was Owen Rainey capitalizing after tapping in a rebound from the edge of the crease.

Pembroke had the chance to tie the game but their celebration came too early as the goal they thought they had rang off the crossbar again. The Raiders dodged another two bullet when a Lumber King goal was waived off after the referee deemed that the puck went into the Raider net on a high stick.

The period was almost all Nepean but a late flurry actually gave Pembroke an edge in shots at 15-14 but Nepean had the edge where it counted most leading 2-1 on the scoreboard.

In the third period the Raiders got into penalty trouble when Wade Bolton was given a Tripping penalty and then 24 seconds later Nolan Mozer was given a double-minor for Tripping which looked more like a Boarding or Cross-Checking penalty. The Lumber Kings tied it on the ensuing 5-on-3 PowerPlay with Nathan Duck netting his first of the season.

Sixty minutes was not enough to decide the game and after Pembroke outshot Nepean 16-7 the two teams went to OT thanks to a solid effort in goal by Sandu for Nepean.

Both teams had chances in the fourth period but for the third time this season the Raiders headed to the shootout. Sandu was a perfect three stops on three shots in the shootout.

1. Jack Matsukubo – missed
1. Nick Foster – missed

2. Wade Bolton – GOAL
2. Alex Urbisci – missed

3. Tyler Melvin – missed
3. Matt Yeager – missed

Three times proved to be the charm as the Raiders would in come away with a much-deserved shootout win.

Nepean netminder Luca Sandu (42 saves on 44 shots) was named the game’s first star. Lumber Kings forward Owen Rainey (1G | 1A) took second star honours while Raiders’ forward Tyler Melvin got the nod as the game’s third star.

Wade Bolton is named the Hardest Working Raider for his shootout winner.

Notes: Nepean has two players in the Top 10 Rookie scoring race:

Rank  Name  Jersey #  Team  GP  G  A  PTS  Pt/G  PPG  PPA  Hometown
1 Luka Benoit 29 NEP 11 8 3 11 1 0 1 Ottawa, ON
2 Caton Ryan 12 CP 11 3 4 7 0.64 3 3 Kanata, ON
3 Thomas Dickey 27 CP 10 1 6 7 0.7 1 1 Nepean, ON
4 Luke Posthumus 10 NEP 11 3 3 6 0.55 0 2 Nepean, ON
5 Kyle Powers 11 BRO 10 4 1 5 0.5 1 0 Ottawa, ON
6 Remi Gelinas 27 HAW 12 2 3 5 0.42 0 1 Hawkesbury, ON
7 Antoine Gauthier 16 OJS 9 3 1 4 0.44 0 0 Ottawa, ON
8 Zachary Losier 11 OJS 8 1 3 4 0.5 0 0 Niagara Falls, ON
9 Jesse Lumsden 17 SF 7 0 4 4 0.57 0 0 Smiths Falls,ON,
10 Peter Freel 12 ROC 7 1 2 3 0.43 0 0 Ottawa, ON

Nepean is back at it Friday night as they take on the Kemptville 73s at the North Grenville Municipal Centre for a 7:30pm puck drop.

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